Category: Horticulture

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Transitioning to Winter: Changes You Need To Make

The colder months have finally descended upon us!

The transition from Autumn to Winter is one of the most important for us farmers, taking us from the bustling period of harvest, straight through to the down-time of the colder months.

There are a number of risks that are presented to us British farmers during this interesting time and whilst more experienced landholders might consider these tips as rather basic, they might prove to be a life saver to less experienced farmers.

Change those clocks back

Changing the myriad of clocks around your farm back to the right time is a chore but one that is vital to the efficient running of your farm. Leaving just one clock off by one hour could lead to a serious mistake being made by one of your farmers and animals could be hurt as a result.

Task one of your workers with changing all of the clocks on the farm and make sure they’re adjusted to an electronic device that is connected to the internet so that the time is as accurate as possible.

Dig out the thermals

Forgetting to wrap up can make the difference between a productive day out in the fields and one spent shivering in the cabin of your Massey. When our mornings are as early as they are, it’s vital that you and your employees are well wrapped up.

Make sure that your men are aware of the changing seasons and ensure that every one is sufficiently insulated from the cold weather – cold workers don’t work well! If the weather’s really cold then ensure that you have hot drinks on standby to keep morale up.

See to your buildings

Responsible farmers should be aware of the state of their buildings, but it can often be easy to overlook the cracks that start to form over the years. Before Winter properly sets in, you should make sure that you’re aware of any developing maintenance issues with your building.

It’s vital that you get any essential maintenance jobs done to your farm buildings before the true Winter freezes set in, the cold weather is guaranteed to make any of these much worse.

Have a stock of food at the ready

Winter brings with it more than just chilly temperatures. Cold snaps, fog, heavy rain and winds also rear their ugly heads during the Winter months which can easily cut off isolated or rural locations. If you’re looking after livestock then it’s a good idea to always have a stock of emergency supplies on hand, in case you’re cut off from your supplier.

Rotate your emergency stock into your general feed, so that you always have a week’s supply in hand and none of it goes to waste.

Attend to your fences and posts

One of the most vital checks you need to make before the Winter truly hits is a perimeter check of all your fences, posts and gates. The upcoming freezes will always find a way of shaking loose any vulnerable sections, so it’s best to get these things fixed sooner rather than later.

Latches, locks and hinges all deteriorate over time, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for any suspect components – before you’re made to rue any gaps!…

Environmentally Friendly Gardening

There are plenty of ways you can garden environmentally…

This Winter, don’t abandon your garden – do your bit to help out the environment with these Green tips for Green fingers.

As the Winter months kick in, here in the UK, it can be all too easy to want to stay inside and leave the garden to it’s own devices. Fight the urge to stay under the blanket, in front of the TV, throw another jumper on and get out into the garden for a potter – the Environment will thank you!

Start Composting

When the Winter months approach, us human beings tend to want to eat heartier meals. The root vegetables that come into season often need peeling or preparing and this inevitable leads us to accumulating more food waste. Instead of throwing this in the bin, why not use it to super charge you garden in the summer?

compost-pile

Starting a compost bin will help boost the soil in your garden next year, plus it’s a handy place to dump all the fallen leaves and other dead plant matter that crops up during the winter months.

Mulch Down Your Beds

Don’t wait until your compost heap is full to apply some tasty mulch to your flowerbeds. During the winter months, your soil still needs looking after and topping up with nutrients and moisture – mulch, either organic or inorganic, is an efficient way to do this and look after your little piece of heaven.

mulch_flower_beds

Most English gardens benefit from organic mulch rather than inorganic. Buy a blend of pine needles and leaf based compost, to give your flower bed a nice dark appearance – with the added bonus of helping the environment!

Save on Water

Just because it’s raining a bit more in these Winter months doesn’t mean you have to abandon water recycling. Using less water when gardening, is something that should be practised all the year round. Contrary to common opinion, a great deal of domestic waste water can be reused for gardening use.

greyuse_concept

Water used for baths or showers can be reused to water your garden – just make sure you’re not diverting any water containing extreme chemicals, such as bleach or disinfectant.

Welcome the Wild

There are loads of ways you can encourage some wild life to setup shop in your garden space. Regardless of the climate your garden is inhabiting, what’s important is that you maximise the space at your disposal and consider carefully what kind of animalia you’re most likely to attract in your local area.

back-garden-pond

Southern parts of England, with space, can utilise a pond to attract, frogs, dragonflies and other insects. Whereas colder regions up North should make use of bird houses, fat balls and log piles (to create a habitat for squishy insects that will feed your new bird friends).…

Winter Activities For Spring!

Apart from dead-heading, composting and mulching – there’s not much to do in Winter.

However, there are a few preparatory actions that you can take to ensure that your garden is in good stead for Spring to come.

Buy a Greenhouse

Greenhouses are especially cheap at this time of year, with many Home & Garden retailers attempting to get rid of stock, in a bid to make room for new models. If you don’t have one already, then you could significantly increase the variety and longevity of your veg harvest.

greenhouses

They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes so, even if you haven’t got a huge amount of space to be working with – you should be able to find a product that can fit your specifications.

Start Your Spring Planting Early

Sprouts, celeriac, leeks and peas may flourish in spring but that doesn’t mean you can’t jump the gun a little. Planted early, in the safety of your greenhouse, these hardy plants will be able to survive the meanest of winters and can be transplanted to your flower bed, come spring time.

leeks

There’s nothing better than being prepared for Spring. Whilst you wait patiently for these little green beggars to do their magic, you can always consider planting some hardier plants that you can start eating within a fortnight.

Plant Some Hardy Herbs

These fragrant potted plants will be able to survive throughout the whole of the winter, outside. Gorgeously fragrant herbs like coriander, thyme and rosemary will even keep the smells of your garden space alive – especially when the rain pours down.

herbs

If you’re looking for something that you can chomp down on cabbage, lettuce, onions or rocket will grow fine during the winter months and give you a healthy harvest every fortnight. Rotate your crops, so you’re not overwhelmed with one type of veg at a time!

Invest In Some New Windows

It may seem like an out there idea, but by investing in brand new PVC windows, you can save money on your energy bills and save your indoor potted plants and herbs from a cold, mouldy death.

windoes-fitting

There’s nothing worse than drafty windows during the winter. Grab a new set from a reliable fitter (like Allerton Windows) and you can keep your house warmer and even invest in some new tropical plants!

Harvest The Last Of The Summer Spoils

Don’t let all the not-quite ripe plants and fruits go to waste! Tomatoes, rescued squashes and other fruits can finish ripening in a cardboard box in the warmth of your toasty home.

green-tomates

Try not to despair if these little veggies fail to reach their full fruition – if all else fails, you can always cook them down to make a delicious chutney or even a pickle. If the worse comes to the worst, then you’ll just have a some more material for your growing compost heap!

If you’ve got any handy tips for Winter gardening activities or home improvement projects, then shoot us an email or a message over on the contacts page!

How To Make The Most Of Your Small Allotment

Small yields don’t necessarily mean small yields.

A great deal can be achieved with the smallest of spaces – you just need to get creative.

The garden allotment has long been a space saving solution for inner-city gardeners who don’t have a green space of their own. However, with the increasing demand for places to garden, the price per square metre has risen astronomically in the last year alone.

my-tiny-garden

Before you despair with your small garden or allotment space – try out a few of these space saving creativity tips to make the most of what you have.

Adhere To Absolute Order

Although you might well revel in chaos and love the ‘natural’ look of your unkempt back yard – you’ll probably find that you yield less vegetables and your flowers might well struggle to get the nutrients they need to flourish.

organised-allotment

It might feel like you’re putting limitations on your space – but really you’re liberating it. By delineating the spaces where you choose to grow your different types of veg and flowers, you’ll be able to have more control over your allotment and maximise growth all round.

Remove Any Unnecessary Ornamentation

That little garden gnome may well have been in your family for 3 generations, but not only is it thoroughly ugly – it’s also taking up valuable space that could be used for more plants!

gnome

Your allotment may well be the space where you get to ‘express yourself’ but it’s primarily a place for you to grow plants. Don’t stray into the realm of confused elderly folks all round the country; when you visit a garden centre steer well clear of all novelty decoration items and just stick to buying things that will help you grow more plants.

Grow Smart

Before you run out to the shops, grabbing as many plants and flowers as possible, take some time to consider your space limitations and your priorities. Different kinds of flowers and veg need different amounts of space and light to grow.

plan-garden

So before you go cramming your space up with a large shrub – think about if you’re going to want to grow any flowers or sun-hungry veg nearby. By carefully planning out your planting strategy you can successfully make the most of your smaller gardening space – and reap greater dividends come harvest time.

Consider A Garden Share

Lastly, if your plans and visions for your gardening space are simply too grand for your tiny allotment, then there’s one final resort which can double or even quadruple your land entitlement.

gardener

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who own gardens but don’t have the time or the passion to tend to them. By offering out your services as a private gardener you can realise your dreams of cultivating plants over a much larger space. You might not be able to wake up everyday and look out over the products of your hard toil, but you can have the satisfaction of knowing that someone else is.

Strike up the right deal with a neighbour or friend and you could even earn a little cash for doing their garden. If you do a good job you might even end up starting a little side business as a professional gardener – good bye day job!

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